Some time ago, I met a man, it was a chance occurrence. And almost as soon as I had met him, something was different, and a few thoughts coursed my mind. Sure enough, as we interacted, those thoughts were largely validated.
The man turned out to be an alcoholic. I had never seen him before, however there was something about him – a facie of sorts, peculiar to those given to the way of the bottle (or these days, ‘small colored sachets’) – that caused me to suspect that. I am not sure there is a name for it, but it’s difficult to miss. This is apparent in those who have been in this way for a long time.
Several strong influences can act upon a man. They could be positive or negative. Some have obvious effects, others would require closer observation, however they are always there.
Anything a man has been exposed to will l, over time, leave an imprint or a defining attribute on that individual. Sometimes, even the individual is unaware of it. You can tell that some people originate from certain regions, by their mannerisms, and yet it did not require a conscious effort on their parts to express it. They only needed exposure to it and, over time, it became potent enough to be expressed.
Now when they saw the boldness and unfettered eloquence of Peter and John and perceived that they were unlearned and untrained in the schools [common men with no educational advantages], they marveled; and they recognized that they had been with Jesus.Acts 4:13 (KJV)
This is a staggering verse if we attempt to situate it properly. Sometimes, when we read these things, we tend to gloss over them, largely because we think of them as ‘givens’, but most time they are not. Our imaginations are quite handy in such settings.
Just so we are clear, the council before which Peter and John were standing wasn’t their village council, or their local government council:
The next day the council of all the rulers and elders and teachers of religious law met in Jerusalem.Acts 4:5 (KJV)
This gathering by all means would include some of the most intellectual and influential men in the leadership structure of Israel, and yet standing before them were two fishermen who havd no educational exposure -not even adult education. They were, in fact, educationally disadvantaged.
We’re not told how long they spoke for, we only have about four verses documenting what they said in (possible) summative terms. Yet, the scripture said they spoke with unfettered eloquence.
To speak with eloquence means having or showing the ability to use language clearly and effectively. The fact that two uneducated men displayed this got the council thinking. It wasn’t correlating, so they found that they could be only one explanation.
They all had, at different times, met a man who spoke with the same ‘boldness and unfettered eloquence’. That man was Jesus, and if these fishermen were now exhibiting the same features, the mystery explained itself: and they recognized that they had been with Jesus.
Our deficiencies and disadvantages stack up to the high heavens, but there is a sure way out: rather than chase things, we can learn this secret; that by our common union with Jesus Christ through the instrumentality of the Holy Spirit, we too can become men who look nothing like the kind of men that our deficiencies and disadvantages should produce.
We too will become a wonder to the councils of men.